The Associated Press preseason Top 25 men's basketball poll was released Wednesday, and the Duke Blue Devils took home the top spot in the poll for the second consecutive season. The Blue Devils were joined by the Michigan State Spartans, Arizona Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats in the top five.
The preseason poll is not a prerequisite for a title, but a top-five team at the beginning is a leading indicator of March success.
Duke enters the season as No. 1 for the second consecutive year and is the favorite to cut down the nets. However, the Blue Devils followed up a No. 1 ranking last season with a loss in the round of 32.
The Blue Devils will be powered by the nation's top recruit in Marvin Bagley III, a 6-foot-11, 234-pound power forward from Tempe, Arizona, as well as fellow frosh, Wendell Carter, at 6-foot-10 and 263 pounds. Add in the return of senior Grayson Allen, and the Blue Devils will be a load to handle.
The top five teams in the preseason AP poll are also the five favorites to win the national championship, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
It's a long road in college basketball, but it's a good bet the teams at the top to start will be a factor come March.
-- John Silver